A Paradise Hiding in Pinellas County: Fort De Soto Park

The Fort De Soto park is a hidden gem within the Pinellas County Park System. The Fort consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands with an abundant ecosystem. It also includes camping grounds, a museum, multipurpose trails, two swim centers, fishing piers and a waterfront view! Fort De Soto is a paradise for those who love nature-watching or exploring all that Florida has to offer. 

The natural beauty of Fort De Soto is unparalleled, with an abundance of wildlife documented over 60 years. Some examples are the more than 328 species of birds that have been seen here in Galveston Bay alone! Additionally you'll find refuge for loggerhead sea turtles during their nesting season between April and September when they come ashore to lay eggs on beach sand according to experts at bird center missions Baylor university .

With miles of serene and sandy shoreline, this much-loved county park covers five islands with 1,136 acres on the Gulf of Mexico. That means you can explore both land or water in a Spanish American War era fort that was once used as an anti-aircraft battery! Which you can explore while kayaking, paddle boarding or fishing on the edge of the waterfront of Fort De Soto.

For those of you with fur babies (doggies) splash around while lounging under the sun soaked beach skies by taking advantage of the dog park with access to the designated dog beach with your furry ones.

Guidelines for the safety of everyone in the dog park are:

  • Service dogs must be on a leash.
  • Pet dogs must be on a leash and are not allowed on boardwalks and observation towers.
  • All dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the park.
  • Park closes at sunset.
  • Patrons use the dog park at their own risk.
  • Handlers are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog (s).
  • Handlers are limited to 3 dogs.
  • Dogs shall be vaccinated with a tag on their collar at all times.
  • Dogs in heat are prohibited.
  • Handler must be 16 years of age or older.
  • Children under 12 are not permitted without a responsible adult.
  • Handler must control their dog and attend to it at all times.
  • Handler must carry a leash with them at all times while in the park.
  • Handler is responsible for picking up and disposing of their dog's waste in designated receptacles.
  • No dogs under 4 months of age.
  • No aggressive dogs.
  • Handlers must stop their dogs from digging and are responsible for filling any holes their dog makes.
  • No excessive barking.
  • No food or smoking within the fenced area.

With so many options for activities there’s truly something for every visitor no matter what they're looking for--whether its enjoying nature by hiking through Fort De Soto’s natural landscapes, a place to learn Fort's history through interpretive signs and the Fort De soto museum or fishing from one of Fort De Soto's piers.

Come explore one of the most diverse parks in the area...and bring your dog along for the ride!

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